Book Write-Up: The Devil Walks in Mattingly

Billy Coffey.  The Devil Walks in Mattingly.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2014.

Jake Barnett is the sheriff in Mattingly, and his wife, Kate, does good deeds for the local poor.  Both are racked with guilt because they feel responsible for the death of Phillip McBride twenty years earlier, back when they were in high school.  As Jake and Kate attempt to cope with their guilt in their own ways, a variety of things are happening.  Phillip is haunting Jake’s dreams.  A mentally ill man named Taylor Hathcock is murdering and attempting to murder, with the conviction that life is a dream and he is benevolently waking people up.  A young woman named Lisa, who reads philosophy and feels rejected, unloved, and sad about the death of her mother, becomes attracted to Taylor and begins to believe his rants.  There is also a man named Justus, who shot at two people years before, and whom Jake and Kate do not want around their son, Zach.

The book really came alive to me after page 200.  Before that point, I had a hard time getting into it, but I diligently read on.  I am glad that I stuck with the book and got to see how its mysteries were explained and resolved.  The book is about forgiveness, moving on with life, insecurity, fear, reconciliation, and love.  Some of its theological reflections resonated with me, while others did not.  The book is rather deep and thought-provoking, though.

Note: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers ( book review bloggers program.  The program does not require for my review to be positive, and my review reflects my honest reaction to the book.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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